Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Comet fire

I left the house Saturday afternoon just planning to go for a drive. It seemed a little warm for hiking, though it was only about 100. So far, it's been pretty cool for June. Anyway, I left the house and headed east. I could see some smoke in the distance. I thought it might be coming from near Gold Canyon, but smoke always looks closer than it is. Turns out the smoke was about 20 miles away.

I was thinking about going someplace near Florence Junction, and the smoke happened to be in that direction. I decided to see if I could get within view of the fire. I've driven by a few fires in the past but have never gotten any pictures. This looked like it might be a good opportunity to get some pictures. It was away from the highway, but not too far away.

It turns out that it was just north of Comet Peak, which must be where it got its name. I've been meaning to climb Comet Peak for a few years. This would be the perfect opportunity. Usually, it would be a really bad place to go hiking because it's one of people's favorite places to shoot their guns. There's a ban on shooting guns in the desert now (fire danger) and nobody was going to be doing that with all the fire fighters out there.

I think this truck was here just to keep looky-loos from blocking access to a water tank.

I parked far away from and upwind of the fire and well off the road. I didn't want to be getting in anybody's way. The route up Comet Peak was steep with lots of loose rock. It would be exciting on the way back down. It was only about a 300 foot climb, then a short hike to get to where I had a view of the fire.

The fire was burning in the bed of Queen Creek, which is dry right now but full of trees.

Some flames are visible now and then.

My view of parts of the fire was blocked.

Looks like the fire might have started at the base of Comet Peak.

Generally, the wind was blowing the fire away from me. Of course, it was blowing all different directions around Comet Peak. I didn't want to be up there if the fire started coming my way.

Dropping fire retardant.

I stood at the top for about half an hour taking pictures. A big plane showed up and I got a video of it. I wanted to get some pictures of it in action, too, but I smelled smoke and decided it was time to leave.

I don't know what the first plane is dropping. Doesn't seem like enough of anything to have any effect.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


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